Richard Bucker

Don't answer the phone

Posted at — May 30, 2015

Every couple of months I get a phone call from outside the country. I always tend to hesitate answering the phone because I know that it will end up in just a waste of time. This latest call was from India or possibly Pakistan the caller identifies herself as working for network operations. She continued to tell me that my computer which was either a Dell or an Apple or Microsoft Windows required updating and that she was going to help me through this process.

Before I continue let me be very clear this is a scam. Neither Dell Microsoft or Apple will call you to tell you that you need to do something to update your computer. This is a social engineering play by which they are attempting to get your credit card number to charge you on reasonable amounts of money for an individual workflow or possibly even some sort of ridiculous subscription. In the worst case they're stealing your credit card number for some nefarious activities take place in the future.

If you happen to use your debit card to pay for this transaction the caller may enter your debit account long before you have an opportunity to cry foul or execute some sort of protection plan with your bank.

The other side effect of this work flower that the operator gives you may in fact render your computer as a active or dormant but for some sort of future bot attack which may or may not affect either your domestic country or even some foreign country whether its business or government. Worse yet because you giving them access to your computer and with most computers there are known and unknown backdoors you potentially are also giving them the opportunity to capture additional information whether thats social security numbers credit card numbers or even buying habits as you surf the net normally.

Do not give them your credit card information do not allow them to perform any sort of remote tasks against your computer do not let them access your computer at all. Do not let them instruct you on commands that you should execute on your computer. All of these things will end in a negative outcome for you.

The rule of thumb here is at the very least if the phone call does not originate with in your country do not answer the phone nothing good will come of it.